A Danish fish factory worker was stunned when he opened a can of sardines and found a tiny, living 4-inch mermaid packed among her scaly cousins. 

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” says Jens Grootenboer, who works at the cannery in Aveldad, Denmark where the mysterious mermaid was apparently packed.  “It was as if Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale had come to life.

“I was just about to make a couple sandwiches for myself, rolled open the top and there she was – blonde hair, tiny breasts, arms, and a fishtail!”

“It was if she was sleeping with the fishes!”

Grootenboer said he carefully plucked the miniature mermaid from the water in which she was packed and then almost dropped her when she began moving!

“She felt like a wet leaf fluttering in my hand. I yelled and almost threw her on the floor but then realized I had a living fairy-tale creature in the palm of my hand.”


Thinking fast, Grootenboer put her in a small bowl with his pet goldfish, Hildy.

“She began swimming around slowly,” says Grootenboer, “and even appeared to be trying to communicate with Hildy. I dropped some food flakes in but she just nibbled on one, grimaced and spit it out.

“So I went and got a piece of sausage and dropped that in. She gobbled it down and smiled. Then, she yawned, curled up and went to sleep.”

He took photos of his “Ariel” as he named her – which Weekly World News obtained on an exclusive basis.

Mini-mermaids were first reported in Weekly World News in 2001 when correspondent Joan Young uncovered the gruesome practice of North Koreans, Chinese and Vietnamese harvesting and eating the tiny treasures and culinary delicacies.


Grootenboer said his sardine cannery packs thousands of tins daily for distribution and sale through the world and his “lucky tin” was one in a case that the Aveldad Royal Fisheries gives to employees as a monthly bonus.

“I can only imagine that she was picked up in one of the trawling nets and packed with the sardines – it’s a good thing that she was packed in water, not linseed oil or mustard, otherwise she wouldn’t have survived!”

But Ariel’s discovery turned into a tragedy.

“I wasn’t the only one who was fascinated by the little beatify,” relates Grootenboer.

“My cat Thor normally would stare at Hildy.  Once he saw Ariel, he became fascinated with her, too.

“And she didn’t seem afraid of him at all.  I didn’t think there was any danger in this because Thor had never tried to harm Hildy.  Not once did he ever try to stick his paw into the bowl or disturb her in any way.”

So when Grootenboer went to bed that night, he had no inkling that a tragedy was in the making.

“Thor was sitting there staring in the bowl as usual,” says the fish factory work.er “He did that every night. He had always been fascinated by Hildy. And now Ariel had him spellbound.

“But he didn’t try to stock his paw in the bowl or anything.”


The following morning, Grootenboer awoke two hours earlier than usual.

“it was strange,” he said. “I had this weird sense of foreboding in the pit of my stomach.  Immediately, I thought of Ariel.  I rand downstairs to Hildy’s bowl and was horrified.

“Hildy was there, splashing around as usual.

“But Ariel was nowhere to be found.  And there was Thor, laying by the bowl with a grin on his face – purring contentedly.

“I don’t’ know for sure what happened, but I suspect Thor stepped out of line,” he says. “I don’t’ know for sure that he ate her.

“the bowl was near the sink.  Ariel could have jumped out of the bowl and flopped down the drain and perhaps, to freedom.

“I hope that’s what happened.”

Meanwhile, Grootenboer is devastated.

“Yes, I was hoping to become famous by discovering Ariel,”  he sighs. “But I also was fond of her.

“She had such a beautiful tail.”

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  1. Grootenboer as I have learned was actually working with Interpol undercover in the cannery in Aveldad, Denmark. He was part of a nearly 3 year surveillance trying to uncover an operation which was supposedly harvesting creatures like his “Ariel” and selling them for Top dollar to Techno Giants like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to name just 2 of approximately 12 “kingpins” who have in recent years adopted a hankering for this “delicacy”. It’s even been rumored that Mark Zuckerberg has at some point sampled the rare “gem of the sea” according to his closest friends. This investigation is ongoing.


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